Fitness

How to Fill Your Sandbag with Rep Fitness

Hey friends! Happy Tuesday! Today I'm excited to share Part 1 of a new series called Home Gym Basics. I've partnered with the pros for this one:RepFitness, a Denver-based supplier of state-of-the-art CrossFit equipment at an affordable price point for newlywed gym-goers like yourself!

It should come as no surprise that Aaron and me often daydream about having a big house -- or rather, a big garage -- where we can custom build our very own CrossFit gym. It's been really hard to get to the gym consistently since we had our son, and I always imagine a home gym would make all the difference! Unfortunately we're not quite there yet -- we live in a two-bedroom condo and we'll likely be here for at least another year. But, not all is lost! Through this series, I'll show you that your home gym doesn't have to be a conventional one; even in a tiny condo you can get your CrossFit on! Believe me!

So, where's a good place to start? With the basics! Don't have room for heavy weights? Neither do we, so instead we opted for a sandbag! This is something we could easily keep under the dining room table (out of plain sight) or in the trunk of the car to pull out for workouts on a whim. I always assumed sandbags were really expensive and difficult to assemble or maintain, but I was wrong! RepFitnes sandbags are pretty affordable and the sand itself is dirt cheap! Today I'll show you how we filled ours in three easy steps.

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 1 (1)
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 1 (1)

First things first: grab a sandbag! Does size matter? Yes, you'll have to choose between a medium and large bag. If you're planning more than 50 lbs, opt for large.

Large Sandbag (50-125 lbs) Includes:

  • Sandbag shell
  • 3 large filler bags

Medium Sandbag (25-75 lbs) Includes:

  • Sandbag shell
  • 1 large filler, 1 small filler bag

As far as color -- there's three to choose from at RepFitness, including camo! And, durability? SUPER important! Sandbags can get pretty dang heavy (imagine more than a 100 lbs!) and they're literally meant to be thrown around, so it's vital you purchase a bag from reputable distributor (like RepFitness) so that you don't have to worry about tearing or worse -- bursting! I can imagine that would be a HOT MESS in our living room!!

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 9
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 9

Step 1:

Determine Best Size & Purchase a Sandbag!

Obviously we snagged our sandbag from RepFitness and I went with Aaron and JR's favorite color: red!

Next step was to purchase sand to fill the bag. This is where the surprises started -- who knew sand was so stinkin' cheap?! Aaron grabbed two of these 50 lb bags from Home Depot for just $5 each!

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 5
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 5

Step 2:

With desired weight in mind, pour accordingly!

We got the medium sandbag -- our thought being we'd make two and have a light and heavy option. With this in mind, we filled one with about 45 lbs and the other with 35; this way we both can get a pretty intense workout in --

Aaron filled the bags himself while I took photos and I was really impressed with the way he was able to hold the sandbag upright while pouring sand in! Then as I peered closer I realized how durable and sturdy the fabric of the sandbag is, which aided in it being about to stand alone! Apparently the triple/quadruple cross-stitch is pretty important when it comes to sandbags.  RepFitness also used 1000D Cordura, which is a type of canvas/nylon fabric, to ensure maximum durability.

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 10
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 10
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 12
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 12

Our friends at RepFitness advised us not to fill the bag more than 3/4 full, so after a good dump of sand, we'd pack it down and check the level.

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 11
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 11
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 8
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 8
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 13
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 13

This is also the point in time I started to admire Aaron's muscles. HAHA :)

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 3
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 3

Step 3:

Put the filler bag the duffel and do a test lift!

Once we filled the sandbag, it was super easy to add it to the duffel for easy maneuvering! What I love about this is that we can swap out the heavier bag for the lighter (or vice versa) whenever we want.

You might also notice the handles on the duffel - there's six! - which make it really easy to lift in various ways and practical for workouts!

We were both immediately inspired by this little gem and all the workouts that we can do with it! Think: overhead squats, thrusters, even over-the-BAG burpees if we wanted to get really crazy!! I plan to share some of those workouts with you in the next part of this series! Stay tuned! :)

Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 2
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 2
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 1
Rep Fitness How to Fill Your Sandbag Pinterest Image 1

Questions, comments or ideas about home gyms?

Leave me a comment with your thoughts and we'll put a post together on the topic!

Also Enter to Win!

RepFitness has a grand opening this month and they're running a bunch of INCREDIBLE giveaways!

Click the image below to learn more.

RepFitness Grand Opening Giveaways
RepFitness Grand Opening Giveaways

18 Healthy Tips from My Beautiful, Fit Friends

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On Being Healthy, Notes from my Bestie Squad

I just had an epic girls weekend in Atlanta with my best friends and the trip was an absolute blast!

It was the twins' birthday and my dear friend Michelle (pictured second to the right) just moved to North Carolina so we were thrilled to have her fly down and join the fun. We picked Atlanta because another mutual friend from High School (Courtney) lives there, and let me tell you: being all together again was awesome!!! I can't believe I've known these women for over 15 years!! And yet we continue to pick up right where we left off, never having skipped a beat!

Traveling together and spending a few days in a shared hotel room, it's easy to see the rituals + habits of friends and I couldn't help but notice how healthy my friends have become! With that in mind, I thought it might be fun to share the tidbits I gleaned from them with you, alongside some photos of the fun!

What I love is that each of us approach wellness in our own way, and can easily swap/share/learn from each other's different perspectives and knowledge. So, without further ado, some notes on being healthy from my bestie squad!

Atlanta Girls Trip 8
Atlanta Girls Trip 8

Take your Vitamins

Why have I not been taking a multivitamin all my life? I loved the little AM/PM case I saw my girl Ghadah with! She's so organized! There was a lot of discussion about the benefits of B12 as well, not only for energy and stamina but weight loss. This past year I've made big changes to take better care of myself (switching jobs + trying to get healthy again), something as simple as a multivitamin should be at the top of my wellness to do list! (And yours too!)

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Buy Trader Joes Alkaline Water

At a $1.50 a pop, these liters of alkaline water are a steal and they taste delicious (here's a similar brand you can order online)! I have to give the twins credit for this one, I'm hooked, and I've also started using this to make JR's bottles -- here's what the Mayo Clinic has to say about the benefits of alkaline water:

Because alkaline water has a higher pH level than does plain tap water, proponents say that it can neutralize acid in your bloodstream, boost your metabolism and help your body absorb nutrients more effectively. Some even say that alkaline water can help prevent disease and slow the aging process.

Always Pack Snacks

My girl Ghadeer always comes prepared with advil, tylenol, tums and pepcid in her purse -- she's like the mom of every girl's trip with all the goodies in her bag! This includes snacks too, but not any ole' snacks, fairly healthy, high-protein, gluten-free snacks like epic all natural meat bars and Scandinavian gummies if you have a sweet tooth!

... And Liquid Gel Tylenol & Advil

The other thing I noticed is that she for all those meds listed above, she goes with the liquid gel caps, which I know are pricer, but so worth it when you've got a headache or cramp and you need something fast-acting!

Skip Sugary Drinks & Just Order a Vodka + Soda Water

My girl Michelle just lost 12 lbs doing a weight loss challenge at Orange Theory Fitness and she looks AMAZING! I even caught her doing a little Vinyasa at the pool one day! (See below.) Her commitment to drinking Vodka Tonic has always impressed me but this trip to modified to Vodka and Soda Water, which has even less calories!!This is such a great choice when you're standing at a bar and don't know what to order, and I swear she must save a billion calories passing on the pineapple, cranberry, syrup mixers that I usually go for!

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Shots > Drinks

So, along those lines - true, drinking isn't really "healthy" in any form, but there's such thing as smarter choices and, well this may not be the best tip there's some food for thought behind the idea that shots are the way to go! They're smaller than regular drinks and therefore not as much room for sugary mixers. They're typically pretty strong (too strong sometimes!) so if you're looking to feel a buzz, this is definitely a faster way to do it than drinking 10 beers! That said, be super careful not to have too many!

Ward Heartburn by Eating First

On our trip to Jamaica, we laughed so hard at how many times we were popping tums throughout the day to ward off reoccurring heartburn, which was likely a result of too much drinking (hello all inclusive). Well, in Atlanta that heartburn reared it's ugly head again a few times and it wasn't until Courtney made a comment about being sure to eat before drinking that a lightbulb went off for a few of us -- was this the cause of all the heartburn? It's hard to say for sure but being on vacation and in a foreign place you don't eat as often as you would at home, then add drinks here and there (also not common at home), it's no wonder we were a little acid-y! Definitely taking the advice to "eat first" on the next trip!

Buy Water Wherever You Go

The twins are so crazy about water, it cracks me up! When we were in Jamaica they were the same way -- always collecting bottles of water wherever we'd go, but I've learned something from this practice: if you grab a bottled water, you drink it! Hey look at that! I can be a little fickle with water at times and typically I don't crave it, but once I start guzzling I realize I needed it! Just making it a practice to grab a bottle when it's offered (most hotels provide at least one in the room and some in the lobby), the result is that I inevitably drink more!

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Split Alcoholic Drinks with Seltzer

This is actually something I suggested we do, and I know for me (a person who loves seltzer water), it worked out great! Instead of pouring a big glass of wine and just drinking that, I would pour half and then add equal parts seltzer water. Experimenting with this I discovered the most divine combination of seltzer and prosecco: Spindrift Grapefruit Seltzer and Grapefruit Secco Rossini (sold at Trader Joes). Please do yourself a favor and try this, this summer!

Atlanta Girls Trip 6
Atlanta Girls Trip 6

Bananas to keep the blues away

So one of my favorite parts of the trip was our quick trip to Trader Joes to stock up on snacks and drinks for the weekend. Of course, nobody can walk into Trader Joes and JUST by drinks, especially when that Olive Oil Popcorn is on display, but you know what else caught our attention? Bananas! The twins swear they ward off the blues and I can see that: there were plenty of times that banana saved me from starvation and held me over until our next meal. Such an easy, healthy snack to have on hand, especially on vacation!

Atlanta Girls Trip 3
Atlanta Girls Trip 3

Schedule Workouts 3 weeks in advance

My friend Michelle has always been a strategic thinker, planning ahead and doing the fast math to get the most bang for her buck! Well, when she mentioned to me that she schedules her Orange Theory workouts 3 weeks in advance, my mouth dropped! I'm lucky if I sign up before midnight the night before! Ugh!! Definitely taking a page from her book and plan ahead!!

Laugh Often

So this one is pretty obvious right? Stress wreaks havoc on our bodies in more ways than most of us truly understand. But laughter? Laughter is good for the soul, and that's what I love about these girl's trips: I find myself laughing SO hard at the silliest things! Sometimes laughing to the point that I can't talk or finish my sentence. I just love that and in the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day with work and other stresses, you don't always get a good belly laugh. So thankful for these girls who keep my life LIGHT in the most positive and uplifting way!

Atlanta Girls Trip 4
Atlanta Girls Trip 4

Poop is good, but bring poo-pourri

When you get a bunch of women together the conversation goes all over the place, really! So it should come as no surprise that we touched on the topic of poop every now and then. We had some laughs over celebrating poops for weight loss, and how great/cleansing a good poop is - LOL! That said, four girls in a hotel room and pooppuri is a must! Noted for the nex trip.

Retainers & Night Guards, Oh My!

Seriously guys, dental hygiene and care is so so important!!!! I feel like my braces made a huge impact on my appearance, but I've seen a shift in my teeth since slacking on wearing my retainer. I did bring it to Atlanta and wear it and it was cute, matching with Ghadah who wears a nightguard. Bottomline: whatever your teeth-needs are, tend to them!!

Grab a Liberty Buddy

My friend Courtney ins in the Navy and it was so interesting to hear about her experience in the military - she's really loved it! She shared with us how there's "liberty buddies" assigned at each port to keep an eye on each other and I instantly clung to this idea as a great one for friends on a night out, or on a trip. Have you ever had one too many to drink or found yourself separated from your group at a nightclub? The liberty buddy ensures there's one person (at least) assigned to have your back and make sure you get home safe. Totally love that!

Atlanta Girls Trip 7
Atlanta Girls Trip 7

Skip the Bread

Ghadeer has lost about 15 lbs since the beginning of the year and I just love her approach. It started with elimintaing bread, and when she re-introduced it she noticed her body's reaction: it wasn't a good one! he's been experimenting with going gluten free and at every meal she'd skip the bread. At the airport, two egg breakfast instead of a breakfast sandwhich; at restaurants, a bunless burger or chiken sandwich. I love that she asked this in her order so there was no tempation when her food arrived!

Don't Throw Out the Diet for Vacation

This is where I struggle the most - every occasion, whether it's a birthday or trip or something to celebrate, feels like an opportunity to "treat" myself and throw my diet out the window. I LOVED that my friends stayed commited to their healthy habits on this trip, allowing for a splurge here and there but not completely throwing in the towl.

Treat Yo' Self!

Last but not least: just do it -- treat yourself! Order that massage, splurge on an expensive candle or body wash and just treat yourself! You desserve it! I know, pesonally, I have a tough time with this. I overanalyze the cost and expectations of others but man, it felt so good to let my hair down for a few days and just have a good time! Life is hectic but you gotta stop and smell the roses sometimes, you know? Can you tell I was living it up? Good. Cause I did! :)

Atlanta Girls Trip 2
Atlanta Girls Trip 2

Alright, so, there you have it!

Some easy, applicable tips from women, just like you, trying to maintain their best self and live well!

What are some of your wellness rituals? 

Do you try to emulate the behavior of healthy friends? Who inspires you to be healthier? 

Getting Fit Again, Vol. 3

Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 3
Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 3

Hey friends! It's another installment of Getting Fit Again, Bit by Bit!

I've had a really great week so I'm excited to share some of the things that are working for me on this journey to getting fit again. It's funny, in just a few months' time since I started this series I've learned so much about myself! It's interesting to see what methods are working to support my weight loss/workout goals and those that simply aren't working, but may have in the past!

It's been a refining/learning experience so far, and I hope that some of my insights can inspire/help you!

Find Workouts With Meaning

First of all - SoulCycle is my jam! I literally broke down and cried (read: sobbed!) in class last Saturday.

I mean, if there was ever an environment for a good cry, it might as well be SoulCycle and -- since telling a few friends this -- it turns out, I'm not the only one whose had a boo-hoo in class! The lights are dim (sometimes it's completely dark), there's candles lit and great music playing; plus self-empowering mantras coming from high-energy coaches. I LOVE IT!

And here's why: for me, working out has nothing to do with the way my body looks, it's all about how I feel. The best workouts are the ones that conjure up emotions within me -- sometimes they're thoughts/feelings like "I can't do this" -- then there's a subsequent breakthrough (or break down!) during the workout. In CrossFit this typically looks like "I can't go on" or "it's too heavy" and then I do! In SoulCycle, it was feelings of self blame and guilt/sadness about our son and subsequent feeling that we'll "rise above."

Which brings me to point #2 in the "what's working" category -- music and mantras!

Find Your Theme Song, and Play it Often

The song that made me cry during SoulCycle was Katy Perry's "Rise" and the lyrics are so powerful.

When, when the fire's at my feet again And the vultures all start circling They're whispering, "You're out of time," But still I rise

...

Oh, ye of so little faith Don't doubt it, don't doubt it Victory is in my veins I know it, I know it

You guys!! Get a song!! Get a mantra and play that sh*t on REPEAT!! It's so helpful. The music and the lyrics are motivating and self-empowering, which are all things I'm searching for on this journey, and that are just as important to my health as weight loss and workouts.

Granted: there's no vultures at my feet but I've sure been through a lot these past two years and in times of stress/depression/anxiety, it's easy to feel overwhelmed "circled" and consumed by negative thoughts (i.e. "you're out of time)... BUT STILL I RISE. (Insert praise-hand emoji here!)

Journal & Refresh Goals Along the Way

Along these same lines journaling and writing my goals on paper have been transformative. I'm a huge fan of Lara Casey's Powersheets -- they're essentially a goal planner for the year/half-year and they're awesome because for each big goal you create daily, weekly and monthly goals that you revisit and "tend" to regularly.

Meal Prep Like a Pro

Last, but certainly not least this week are these awesome and amazing magical containers! Yes. I called them magical because they have been a GAME CHANGER! I bought a pack of 20 from Costco and several months later, I'm still using them. They are microwavable and dishwasher safe, and something about them just makes you wanna meal prep! It's been so fun to have something "new" and easy to motivate me to do a Sunday meal prep -- something I used to do all the time but have struggled to do regularly since we had our son.

Next week I'll share some new recipes in rotation (and pictured here), as well as exactly how we're going about meal prep these days (our method has changed recently).

In the meantime, here's some truth on what's NOT working:

Blogging or doing pretty much anything consistently for an extended period of time - I'm learning that consistency is not my strong suit, you guys. It doesn't take much to knock me out of my routine and into a complete tizzy where the "me things" that *are* important fall to the wayside to make way for family gatherings, kids parties, JR appointments or work. I've noticed that it's very challenging to stick with any one thing and not get side tracked with #allthethings. I love what Lara Casey says about having too many good things! It's very tough to say "no" to people and ideas for projects and events and #allthethings but I'm slowly learning I have to say "no" to some things to say "yes" to more important things and I think it's a bit of a learning curve/change to admit/accept that those more important things are sometimes the simplest things in life: quiet time to read or write, meal prepping for the week or going to bed early to be able to wake up for an early workout!

I'm curious if you experience this too, and whether you've seen "too many good things" or just "too many things" get in the way of your workout or weight loss goals?

On the flipside, what's working for you lately? Do you have a theme song or workout that gets you emotional, too?

Getting Fit Again, Vol. 2

Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 2
Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 2

Getting Fit Again, Bit by Bit, Take TWO!

Here I am again, friends - sharing another weekly update on my long road back to better health! This week was good and bad.

Let's start with what's working:

Down Dog Yoga

My fitness journey is a little different this go around. I'm not at all focused on the scale or how I look, it's all about how I FEEL. The past two years have been really stressful and I see the impact on my health, whether it anxiety or emotional eating. That said, I wanted to incorporate some intention into my day: a quiet time to be still, reflect, find gratitude; center; and just, overall de-stress best I can! That said, this app has been AWESOME! It's free and so easy to use! I love that the "workouts" are as short as just 10 minutes, which makes it impossible to use the excuse "I don't have time." It also feels really great to get quiet! The app provides all the music and instruction. Definitely going to try to stick with this! (Learn more about this app here.)

Down Dog Yoga App
Down Dog Yoga App

Salad Club !

Salad club! <<< Sound the trumpets!!! >>> Oh how I've missed Salad Club!!

I mentioned that I switched jobs earlier this year to eliminate a long commute and a lot of work stress. I knew the trade-off would be good for my health because the new employer would also be my former employer - the place where I discovered Salad Club and used to workout at lunch a few days a week. Well, fast forward a few years and Salad Club is still going strong! This has been so great: to not have to think about lunch and know I can make a huge, delicious salad to satisfy me in the middle of day; game changer! #lifetimemember #saladismyjam

Salad Club
Salad Club

Salad in a Jar

I had a personal trainer in the months leading up to our wedding and I vividly remember her telling me "you love healthy food" and it's funny, she was right, I do! (I guess I just needed the reminder; same is true these days!) I'm really leaning into that now and aiming to have meals/snacks I know I love and salad is a true staple for me! I am lucky I actually LIKE salad! With this in mind, I've made Salads in a Jar when I know there not going to be Salad Club (Mondays, for example; due to varying schedules we often start Salad Club on Tuesdays). It's so, super easy to throw salad ingredients in a jar and them dump them in a big bowl the next day! It's easy to transport, fresh and delicious, and definitely a lot better for me than anything I could buy in the area.

Gym workouts

Oh ya'll! I need my emoji praise hands right now!!!! This gym. There's just something about an empty gym. It's so invigorating yet so calming to get an hour ALONE at the gym in the afternoon. First of all, as a mom, my alone time is limited so when I do get an hour to myself it's glorious! I haven't felt my best during workouts (I feel rusty -- especially doing push-ups!) but I'm getting there and at this point, that's all that matters.

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Alright, now let's get to what's NOT working:

Running

Ugh! So, it feels great to be back in the gym but I don't miss running. There have been a few days I tried to do interval runs -- I used to run an average of 3 miles at least once a week! -- but ugh, I'm just not loving it. My legs feel super heavy and achy! I know I really need the cardio and really, REALLY need to work my aerobic endurance but it's just hard right now. Like, REALLY hard so, I'm trying, but it's slow going! Running has not been my favorite part of returning to the gym.

Managing Sugar Cravings

So I love my new job but there's a candy jar in my office and I'm already in a bad habit of helping myself throughout the day; hello mindless eating! Of course, moderation is key and a piece of candy now and then won't kill me but here's how this usually goes down: one piece opens the door for another and another and another! I'm a bottomless pit for sugar, I swear and I do so much better when I just pass it up altogether! I'm definitely going to have to work my will power muscle to overcome this!

Avoiding Fast Food

WHERE ARE ALL THE HEALTHY DRIVE-THROUGH JOINTS? << Serious question! >>

With all the mamas in this world who don't want to get of the car with a little one, I would think somebody would have established at least one healthy fast food restaurant by now, but nope, the choices remain: Burger King, Wendy's, McDonald's -- > with super limited healthy food choices, and I have to be honest, I'm using the "I can't / don't want to get out of the car" routine all the time. I'm also using the "I'm tired, I don't want to cook" excuse at home (seeing a pattern here?) and I totally hate that about myself right now. I NEVER used to eat fast food, like EVER. But these days I'm quick to come up with an excuse why I should! This is something I want to break ASAP on this journey to health again because I don't want to set that example for JR. More to come on this topic soon!

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Another thing I'm not loving is feeding this kind of food to JR regularly! Although, as you can see, he's not complaining. Lol!

A few tips I'm living by this week:

You don't have to go all in. In fact, if you've been out of the game for awhile, ease back in! Don't think you have to work out everyday.

CROWD OUT! I'm going to talk more about this later but it's all about crowding out y'all! I haven't eliminated a bunch of stuff from my diet; instead, I've started adding things in -- healthy things!!! -- which naturally "crowds out" the unhealthy things. I'm loving this approach because it doesn't feel overly restrictive or unmanageable.

Baby steps!!

What's some things you've done toward getting healthy this week?

Small things you try next week? 

Getting Fit (Again), Bit by Bit, Vol 1

Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 1
Fit Bit by Bit Vol. 1

Heyyyyyyyy, friends.

It's me again! Blogging for the THIRD time this week - woohoo! I'm on a roll!

Actually I've been dying to share this post. I started it several weeks back when I decided it was finally time: finally time get fit again! No matter how slow and grueling the "process" might take!

"Getting fit" means so many different things; something different for everyone! I'm actually still honing in on what my "fit" is - for instance, hitting the gym twice a week (lately) is like SO FREAKIN' FIT - YOU GO GIRL! Ha! Not at all like the "old me" who would workout 4-5xs per week and sometimes double up workouts at work then CrossFit. (... that girl! Ew.)

See, the thing is, I used to be "all in" when it came to health, wellness and general fitness level. Multiple workouts per week, clean eating challenges and weight loss challenges with friends.

But then I had a baby. It's been a long journey and ... bottom line: I'm no where near as fit as I once was! It's pretty discouraging when I think about it (or look at old pictures) but I've also come to accept that this is a new season. I'm a new person! Everything has changed. And that's OK.

Does that mean I should give up on fitness altogether? Of course not! Even though somedays, throwing in the towel; coming up with excuses; or general laziness is my go-to, I'm embracing a new mantra this year: bit by bit... little by little.

If I were to think about all the things that need to change at once: better eating habits; meal prep; healthy dinners; workouts; getting back to CrossFit; it's overwhelming. Paralyzing. But bit by bit, I feel like I can do this.

So, welcome to Getting Fit Again, Bit by Bit, Vol. 1!

Here I'm sharing some of the baby steps I'm taking to take my health back. They're small, but they count. :)

Pictured above from top left to right: push-ups. UGH. (Need I say more?). Hot pink. HELL YEA. This is my new motivation ya'll: cute workout clothes. Salads. Oh how I've missed thee! There's a Whole Foods by my job so, seriously? No excuses. And running. Ugh. It's kind of the worst but, I'm doing it.

Here's some big bucket items currently working for me!

Regular Ole' Gym Workouts

The Goal:Just Go.

I really wanted to do the CrossFit Open (and I did 17.1) but I quickly realized focusing on the Open alone was hindering my progress; having to get to a CrossFit gym, during the time the Open would be done and having a judge, etc. was just too difficult to work into my already hectic schedule. I let go of having to do anything particular with fitness and instead, decided to go to a regular gym. Just go. Whatever I do when I'm there doesn't matter - long as I go!

Progress so far: I haven't gone a ton but this is working! I've done a handful of solo WODs and some running. It always feels SO good walking out of there like I've just accomplished something incredible. And I have!

Real Life > Social Media

The Goal:Stay off social media; focus on myself. 

Social media is great and I definitely get inspired seeing all the amazing athletes and fitness professionals on there (There's some inspiring stories and great tips!) but I've noticed it can also be overwhelming, depressing, even hindering to my own progress. When I see all the girls lifting heavy weights or counting marcos I get down on myself. I'm focused on them, not me. So, I handed social media over to Aaron; he's doing it for the blog now and I turned off notifications (<<< best decision ever). I still scroll through now and then but I've tried to focus on using my phone for productivity: organizing my notes tab or experimenting with fitness apps (I've been loving Downward Dog -- it's free!).

The Buddy System

The Goal: Get a buddy! Have a workday buddy and weekend buddy and friend for girl's night out. Buddies are the best!

I've always been into the buddy system. My first workout buddy was a girl I met on Craigslist - sounds creepy but it totally worked! We'd meet every morning and sometimes twice a day! We split the cost of personal training and starting training for 5 and 10ks together! It just helps me so much to have someone to push me along! I've also joined weight watchers with my mom (yeah!) And for a few weeks now we've been having weekly weigh-ins to touch base on how we did (diet-wise) the week prior. It's been GREAT! Also Aaron - he's been forcing me to CrossFit with him Sunday nights for open gym. I usually complain all day about how I don't want to go and then I'm jumping with joy when we leave!! At work I'm reunited with some old workout buddies too so seriously guys, this is my strong suite this year!

So that's really it for right now - I'm keeping it simple and taking baby steps! Next week I'll share more progress - I've been meal prepping a ton and trying new recipes!

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Color Run {Take Two}

output_Itv0aR
output_Itv0aR

This weekend I did the Color Run 5k with my favorite girlfriends and it was a blast!

I did the Color Me Rad with my family back in 2013, and when my friends expressed an interest what would be their first 5k, I knew this was the perfect run for them, dubbed the Happiest 5k on the Planet (for good reason)! There were a few upgrades since the 2013 run, like happy tattoos, bright-colored headbands, and finisher medals! All of which we loved!

Color Run
Color Run

We also all went a step further and made matching t-shirts, calling ourselves the Like a Girl team - #likeagirl - based on this pro-girl advertisement from Always that we all loved!

Color Run
Color Run

This is the whole Run #Likeagirl Team:

Color Run
Color Run

Our resident fit bride and my sister-in-law, Amber was a real trooper! This was her first 5k and I know she was nervous. I'll let her tell the story in her own words (she'll be blogging about it) but spoiler: she kicked butt! I'm so proud of her and glad I got to be there to do this with her! Way to crush it, Amber!

Color Run
Color Run

We didn't waste any time covering ourselves in color, as you can see from the photo directly below, which was taken at the starting line! The next photo is halfway through the race. I think compared to everyone else I look pretty clean!

Color Run
Color Run
Color Run
Color Run

Bump shot!

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2015-05-18_0008

The caption for this photo should really be Big Bump, Small Shorts - ha! I still don't have any workout clothes that are maternity - I need to get some!

I loved this run just as much the second time as I did the first and would do a third in a heartbeat! Oh and in case you're wondering, Baby Ellis was a great companion! I felt a few flutters and kicks, but not too winded! You could definitely say baby's first 5k was a success! #proudmama

What did you do this weekend?

Have you ever done a color run?

Things I Love About ClassPass

JUMPSTART YOUR FITNESS WITH CLASSPASS
JUMPSTART YOUR FITNESS WITH CLASSPASS

I'm only halfway through my first month with ClassPass but there's already so much that I love! In just two weeks I've been to three different fitness studios and feel like I've really broadened my horizons! I finally tried reformer pilates (loved it) and, I've been to yoga and cycling, two types of classes I love but don't get a chance to do very often.

JourneYoga (http://www.journeyoga.com/): This is a new yoga studio in Columbia Heights (Arlington) near where I live. I went to the 7am class last Friday and it was great - very laid back; the instructor encouraged participants to just do what feels right, which was perfect for me since I hadn't been to yoga in quite sometime! Plus, it was a 7am class so I was hardly awake! The studio is really cute and the instructor was wonderful! All and all, I liked the class and wouldn't mind going back!

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.52.13 PM
Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 10.52.13 PM

My Thrive Pilates (http://mythrivepilates.com/): There's two My Thrive locations -- I went to the one in Shirlington (Arlington) and really fell in love with the studio, the practice, and the people! It was really different, but fun and full or so many new and interesting moves. I was nervous but there were only six people in the class and everyone was incredibly friendly. The instructor was really nice, too. She was very gentle with her commands and in correcting my form. She definitely made me feel at ease! I also felt like I worked muscles I don't often think think about, like my inner and outer thighs, and there was a lot of core work! My abs were burning! The hour long class flew by and I was kind of sad it was over so soon! I definitely plan to get back to Thrive before the month is up!

My Thrive Pilates - Shirlington
My Thrive Pilates - Shirlington

Revolve (https://www.revolvefitness.com/): CYCLING!! I used to go spin at Sport & Health religiously. The instructor was from Miami, had the best music, and I always left on such a high! The instructor at Revolve has the same high energy. The flow was great - some hills, some speed, and a lot of pushing yourself for another 15 - 10 - 5 seconds left! The only bummer was that I had to pay for shoes ($2) and couldn't take my phone in the spin room to snap a pic for you guys! I also didn't think the people were as friendly as a lot of other studios I've been too, but it was definitely a good workout nonetheless.

Revolve Fitness
Revolve Fitness

So, how has all this been possible? CLASSPASS!!! What I'm loving about it:

+I can schedule all my classes right from there website - I don't have to go to the studio's website, signup with them or do anything except click 'reserve' on ClassPass. Then I just show up, say I signed up via ClassPass and volia, I'm in!

+Reminders: I love getting reminders! They come right after I sign-up and the the day before to remind me I have a class to attend. I'm pretty busy so these are nice!

ClassPass Reminder
ClassPass Reminder

I also love that they provide a little insight about what to expect, such as that I may have to rent shoes if I don't bring my own and not to show up late!

+The $20 cancellation fee is serious incentive! I started to think about not going to Pilates after work on Thursday (you know how it goes after a long day at work), but knowing I would have to fork over $20 because I didn't cancel with 24 hours really motivated me to get there! And then of course I was glad I went!

+I can signup the day of, the day before or a full week in advance! I love that the interface is such that I can search today, tomorrow, or next week for classes! Just now as I was sitting here I signed up for a 10 am class tomorrow (it's 5pm). Signing up for classes with such ease is great.

+Searching for classes is SO easy and it's motivating! I literally scroll through all the options, asking myself, hmmm what am I in the mood for?!

ClassPass Class Search
ClassPass Class Search

+I can workout with my friends all over town. I've had two friends -- one in Georgetown and one in Maryland -- say we should get together for a workout and because of ClassPass, we can! The one in Georgetown has a few classes saved up at Barre3 -- I would usually hesitate to go there and have to pay the drop-in fee for a single class, but guess what? Barre3 is a participating gym so my class is already paid for! That means I'm that much more likely to get together with my friend for a workout! Same goes for the friend in Maryland!

I really hate to gush about a subscription like this, but I really love it. I think it's also a great solution for people who maybe in a workout rut and need to switch things up, find something new they like, and just get re-motivated to workout more.ClassPasswill motivate you and it'll make working out EASY. It's literally the click of a button - "reserve."

I highly recommend signing up for ClassPass and giving it a try if you need a little boost to your workout routine. There's classes ALL over the area and you'll surely find something that fits for you!

Do you think you'd enjoy ClassPass? 

What new fitness classes have you tried lately?

Disclosure: ClassPass provided me with a one-month subscription free to sample the service and blog about my experience, but as always, the opinions expressed here are my own. 

Become the Neighborhood Fitness Class Connoisseur with ClassPass

ClassPass
ClassPass

I wanted to pop back by to share with you a cool new service I'm privileged to test out this month: ClassPass.

You may have heard of it as it's been unveiling in cities across the U.S. over the past few months. ClassPass is partnering with area fitness studios to bring you unlimited access to classes in your neighborhood for just $99 a month - a lot less than per-class fees and monthly memberships!

ClassPass
ClassPass

The beauty of ClassPass is that there's no commitment to join a single gym or, to go the same gym each week. ClassPass gives you access to SEVERAL gyms and encourages you to get out and try as many classes as you can!

The only small stipulation is that you can only attend one studio up to three times in a month, but when you see the plethora of studios partnered with ClassPass, I promise - you won't be left wondering where to go next! There's plenty of options.

ClassPass
ClassPass

I have to say, from the moment I logged onto ClassPass I felt motivated to work out! There's something exciting about going to a new fitness studio and trying a new class or form of fitness. Through ClassPass I'm able to try everything from barre to yoga to TRX classes and, even pole dancing and aerial fitness classes, which I've always wanted to do!

The ClassPass interface is really awesome, too. The website is clean, easy to navigate and really informative and, best of all: you can plan your entire month of workouts right from the My ClassPass dashboard. I absolutely love that I can schedule classes right from their website! As I browse the studios, available class times, the type, and the instructors are a single click away - I love that!

ClassPass
ClassPass

I've already noticed that I feel a small sense of urgency with ClassPass (must.get.in.as.many.classes.as.possible!) but, my goal is to try at least 5 different studios. Most drop-in fees are about $25 a class, so if I get to five, I'll feel like I'm really getting money's worth! Here are the studios I'd like to try out:

+ JOURNEYoga (http://www.journeyoga.com/) This place is walking distance from our new house!)I'm already signed up for a 7am yoga class this Friday, November 3rd. I can't imagine a better way to start my day! off!

+ChicPhysiqueFitness (http://www.chicphysiquefitness.com/) Remember this month's motto? Now or never!That's my motivation to try a little pole fitness (which I imagine will be hilarious!) Actually, I'm thinking of inviting a bunch of friends to do. It's a little out of the way in Bethesda, but I think it'll be worth it!

+Revolve (http://www.revolvefitness.com/dc/locations) or Wired (http://wiredcycling.com/) I love cycling and can't wait to give these renowned studios a spin! (Haha - get it?!)

+My Thrive Pilates (http://mythrivepilates.com/) I've always wanted to try reformer pilates even though I know it's going to be so hard! I can't wait to finally give it a shot, though!

+TRX Suspension Training - My Thrive Pilates also teaches TRX classes and I plan to go to one of those as well! I've contemplated buying a TRX for awhile and I'd love to learn about the benefits of training with TRX.

My favorite features on the ClassPass website:

+You can search by studio name or class type +Search classes happening today, tomorrow or next week (go at the last minute or plan ahead) +Search by neighborhood (Clarendon, Arlington Heights, Dupont Circle, etc.) +Search by Activities (Pilates, Cycling, Yoga, etc.) +Once you've reserved a class, there's the option to add it to your Google calendar (how awesome!?) +Read Reviews, teacher bios, and pro tips on studio pages. +A map of the location of each studio on studio pages shows you whether it's metro accessible; there's also a note whether there's a shower! +You receive an email confirmation after your class is reserved.

I'm super excited that November is going to be full of fun new fitness classes!

Have you heard of ClassPass?

Is it something you think you'd like to try? 

Be FFAB! Workout of the Week II

100 Burpees for Time I know.

This is insane.

It really is.

And, even if you don't already despise burpees (which, chances are you do!), you will likely despise them after this. That's what happened to me... This exact workout was on the programming at my box a few months ago and I walked in excited and walked out totally whooped! I vividly remember feeling winded at 30, and panicking a little thinking "I'm not going to make it!" Of course I did but two days later I could hardly move my arms! Sign of a good workout, or insanity? You be the judge! :)

Yesterday, Karlye and had a similar reaction to this workout we did yesterday (another one from the programming at my box):

10 Thrusters 10 Over-the-bar burpees 8 Thrusters 8 Over-the-bar burpees 6 Thrusters 6 Over-the-bar burpees 4 Thrusters 4 Over-the-bar burpees 2 Thrusters 2 Over-the-bar burpees

Of course neither of "enjoyed" the burpees, but we did enjoy getting in a really good workout in less than 10 minutes! That's the beauty of burpees, right? No equipment needed, explosive and the perfect OMG-my-heart-rate-is-up movement, to make even the shortest workout feel tough!

So, how about giving it a try? If 100 seems way out of your league, try just 50 or 25. Don't forget to time yourself, too, so you can retest in a few months and see if you're any faster!

Do you hate burpees? 

Have you ever done 50 or 100 burpees for time? 

Workouts Lately & A Snatch PR!

I haven’t blogged my workouts lately because they've been few and far between. I had a lot going on in September and while I planned to go hard in October, it hasn’t quite worked out that way; though, there's still time! :) On the upside, when I did finally get to the gym this past week I set a new personal record on my snatch – 95 lbs, up from 85! Woo hoo! I also got to my work gym this past week, which is a good thing! However, I have to say-- working out alone is so much harder than doing it at a box with all my friends! The workout below that I did on Tuesday was only 9 minutes but gosh, it felt like forever! I also took way too many breaks, switching songs and tallying up rounds… I know I can do better! I needed my workout buddy there! (Ahemmm, I’m looking at you, Karlye!)

AMPRAP in 9 minutes of:

9 KB swings 6 lateral over-the-bar burpees 3 shoulder to overhead*

*I have no idea how much was on the bar, but it felt kind of heavy!? Again this is part of doing CrossFit outside the box; it’s just different! The bar looks different and so do the plates… I think this was a men’s bar, so 45 lbs, and I put on 10 lb plates on each side, equaling 65 lbs.

This workout as a modification of the programming at my box that day (I substituted kettlebell swings for deadlifts). I finished with 6+5 rounds but like I said, I think I could have done better! I didn’t warm-up for very long either (I just did a 750 m row and a few handstand holds) and I’ve *heard* the shorter the workout the longer the warmup should be… lesson learned!

2014-10-14 15.12.00

The day before this workout was Columbus Day, and I hit up CrossFit in the evening with Aaron.

Part A: Every 2 minutes for 16 minutes (8 sets*), complete: 1 Heave Snatch Balance 1 Snatch Balance 1 Snatch

Rest 3 minutes, then:

Part B: Snatch Classic** 1-1-1 (Rest 2-3 minutes between attempts)

*Add weight for each set **Target weight should be near 80%+ of a known 1RM or heaviest set from Part A

As you can see from the picture below, I gradually added weight 45-55-60-65-70-75-80 to 82, and then for Part B, I started at 80...

Snatch PR

I hadn’t been to CrossFit in awhile and although I was excited to come back on a night we were practicing snatches, I didn’t have any expectations for achieving a PR. However, as I steadily moved up in weight, and received a lot of encouragement from my coach and peers, I braved 5 more lbs and then 5 more! I couldn't believe I got to 95 lbs! That made me really want to break 100 but it didn’t happen. Maybe next time! Nevertheless, I'm happy to have gotten up to 95 lbs!

Ok, so rewind to last Thursday, I did this WOD:

Part B: AMRAP in 8 minutes of: 5 Chest-to-Bar Pullups 10 Pushups 15 Air Squats

Rest 5 minutes, then:

Part C: EMOM for 8 minutes of: 25 second Max Effort Row (meters)

Now, it may not look like much but this workout smoked me! My arms were dead from the push-ups and about halfway through I dropped to my knees because my form was shot. I didn’t get chest-to-bar either; I just practiced my kipping pull-ups. I was super proud of my friend Lynn-- this was her first workout doing all kipping pull-ups, no bands! She was coming back from a two-week vacation to Italy! I guess time off can be a good thing?

Finally, tonight’s workout:

Buy-in 750 m row, then: 4 rounds of 20 box jumps (24/20) 15 hand-release pushups 10 ring dips

Phew! So, I'm not sure about that time off thing! Haha. I felt pretty winded during this workout and pretty weak, too. While I felt good doing snatches earlier this week, body weight movements are a whole different ball game for me; they're so much harder! I definitely struggle with ring dips--even using a band, they're tough!

I kept reminded myself tonight that I have taken some time off and it's normal to feel a little out of it. What's most important is that I got there-- I got through it -- and I'm planning my workouts so I don't miss too many more!

The plan for the rest of this week and next? CrossFit Friday, Saturday and maybe even Sunday! Off Monday and Tuesday (I have other obligations after work) but back on it Wednesday and Thursday. Friday we go to Williamsburg so it’s important to get in what I can this weekend as we’ll be away next weekend!

What's your workout plan?

Do you map out your workouts?

Have you had a PR after some time off?

Be FFAB! Workout of the Week I

Guys -- I'm committed to bringing more workouts to this blog!! CrossFit style workouts are my favorite but most Be FFAB! workouts, like this one, will be workouts anyone can do, anywhere! This AMRAP (as many reps as possible) can be done at home, outside, OR at the gym and there's no equipment required! Looks easy? Think again! (Those burpees will get you!) AMRAP-10

Mind Tricks to Get You to the Gym

As I was walking out of work yesterday in my gym clothes I received a ton of praise in the elevator -- "oh good for you!" Then came the slew of excuses why everyone else -- headed straight home -- doesn't workout. "I wish I could but I never have time," and one lady even admitted, "I just never want to go workout!" Although she said, "I'm always glad I did when I do!" Seemingly puzzled at that phenomena of not wanting to but then being glad she did, I shared some of the mind tricks I play on myself to get to the gym. When we parted ways I realized that lately I've done a decent job going -- even when I didn't want to! Here's how:

I live by this one rule -- When in doubt, go workout.

That's my motto people, plain and simple! I usually start out the day with the best intentions, packing a gym bag and planning to go after work, but you know the drill... work is tiring and long and there's so much to do at home (clean and cook dinner). As the day goes on my will to get to the gym gets weaker and weaker and I start coming up with all sorts of excuses why I shouldn't go. That's when I tell myself: When in doubt, go workout.

It might sound silly but it works! I even have a tank top with the phrase that I wear when I'm feeling especially resistant to working out!

2014-04-12 10.34.46

Immediately following rule number one, I change into my gym clothes before I leave the office.

If I get in my car at the end of the day and I'm not dressed for the gym, it gives me that much more time to back out and book it straight home. But, I'm much less likely to do that if I'm already changed. In fact, my favorite time of day is when work is done and I change for the gym! I instantly feel more comfortable in my workout clothes and energized at the thought of going to workout. It really works - try it!

Some other good tricks: 

I get someone to meet me there or commit to someone I'll be there.

I hate letting people down or bailing at the last minute so it's likely that if I've committed to someone, such as meeting a friend at the gym, I'll make good on that promise! I try to coordinate with Aaron and going with him helps a ton, too.

If your spouse doesn't workout ask your fellow gym goers when they'll be around and verbally commit to be there the same day. Ask, "Will you be here tomorrow?" If they will, commit, "Me too! Hold me to it!" You never know, that small conversation might turn into a great support system!

I watch CrossFit videos on IG or YouTube.

Monkey-see, monkey-want-to-do! Seeing hard-working, strong, awesome athletes motivates me to want to get MY workout on! You could always ask yourself this one, too:

CrossFit Diehard

Finally, I remind myself...

Goodmood

Seriously guys, I don't work out to be fit or lose weight -- I work out for my mental health! I get such a boost from even just an hour at the gym and there's nothing quite like it! I can tell myself going home, cleaning, and getting things done will feel wonderful, but I know better; I'll get MORE done after a workout (I'll be energized) and I'll feel a lot better about myself too -- accomplished and refreshed!

What mind tricks do you play to get yourself to the gym? 

Do you have a hard time getting motivated to get there?

The Reebok Spartan Super

Reebok Spartan Super at Wintergreen
Reebok Spartan Super at Wintergreen
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super

When I said I had a busy weekend, I wasn't kidding! After New York all day Friday, I headed to Charlottesville first thing Saturday. My husband, Aaron, was signed up for the Reebok Spartan Super, one of the most difficult obstacle races in VA!

Some of you may have seen on Instagram how proud I was of Aaron for completing this race... it was seriously like nothing I've ever seen before!

Aaron has talked about Spartan races for awhile and having done a Tough Mudder, I thought I knew just what they were; wrong! The Spartan races are a lot more difficult and the "super" (the second level of three among Spartan races) is beyond difficult. The website describes them as "World's best obstacle race. Period." I might modify that to say "World's most difficult obstacle race!"

Of course I acted like the paparazzi at the event, following Aaron around snapping pics! I couldn't see him for most of the race but I did intercept him at the 7 mile mark, near the end. A lot of the obstacles were deep in the mountain and it was a really, really foggy day so unfortunately these photos don't do it justice.

Check out more right here on the Spartan website.

Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super

If it looks ominous that's because it was! The fog was so thick, which just added to the sort of epic feel of this entire race.

In the photo on the right below you can read some of the 26 obstacles -- a lot of wall climbs, a set of monkey bars, and a log carry. What you don't see are some of the tougher ones, like having to carry a bucket of rocks up and down a huge hill; pulling a 100 lb sandbag out of the water with a rope; a spear throw and tire haul; not to mention the big ass rope climb at the end!

Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super

Having been there to witness this race in person I can tell you the participants were dying! One actually broke his leg and I'm sure there were a multitude of other injuries I didn't hear about...

I saw a lot of obstacles, too and they looked hard. Also, if you can't complete them, it's a 30 burpee penalty! Meaning... with 26 obstacles there's the risk of having to do 780 burpees. WTF!

The crazy thing is, despite how tough and treacherous the obstacles looked, Aaron and others said the worst part was really going up and down the mountain in Wintergreen. It's a ski resort you can just imagine how hilly it is; not to mention all the mud!!

Aaron didn't want to flex or smile or take any pictures when he was done, but I at least got him to stand in front of the Reebok Spartan Race banner. Way to go babe!

Reebok Spartan Super
Reebok Spartan Super

It's funny, we've spent the last few days talking about this race and it came out there were several DEATH NOTICES he had to sign to participate! What?! Good thing I didn't know about that before!

Thankfully, he says he has no desire to redo this race or do any other Spartan race... Haha! I can't blame him! But we'll see how long that lasts...

Would you ever do a race that required you to sign a waiver indicating you might die from participation?

Have you ever done a Spartan race or been interested in trying one? 

Weekly Challenge: Try a New Type of Workout

Hey guys! Happy Memorial Day! I hope you're away from your desks enjoying a barbecue somewhere! It's a new week so you know what that means- time for a new challenge! This week, I suggest trying a new type of workout!

FFAB_Challenge

CrossFit has been my go-to workout for awhile, but I recently started adding zumba back in and I'm loving it!

I go to a super high-intensity zumba class in Springfield called Kazaxe (Kah-Zah-Shay), which is led by a bombshell dancer (Asuka) and it's a blast! Asuka and her crew will have you twerkin' till you don't want to twerk anymore! And if think that doesn't sound like a good workout, think again! I'm drenched in sweat every time I leave! Azuka's whole crew is amazing - they're high energy and full of fun dance moves. It's seriously so fun and doesn't feel like a workout (it just feels like wild, fun dancing)!! And, the best part? I can already fell a huge difference in my body since adding this into my routine!!!

Doing zumba this past week really reminded me how fun the fitness world is, even beyond CrossFit, believe it or not! :) And that adding new workouts in keeps my body guessing and me from getting bored! Soul Cycle or Barre are great workouts to add to the mix as well.

If you're in Northern Virginia and wanna try Kazaxe, let me know! The classes are very affordable too- only $6 a pop and free for first-timers.

I'd love to know what you plan to try this week! Otherwise share something new you've tried recently!

What are some different workouts you added to your routine and enjoyed? 

What are your plans for Memorial Day?

Trying Soul Cycle in New York City

Hello friends! I finally have a free minute to talk about my weekend! You may have seen on Instagram that I was in New York with my husband's family. I had a fabulous time and wanted to share my experience trying Soul Cycle cause I absolutely loved it! To sum it up, Soul Cycle made me feel… SONY DSC

HAPPY! The studio was happy - it was bright white with yellow and pink accents everywhere - there was good-smelling candles and badass apparel! The instructors and receptionists were happy, the other cyclers were happy (happy and nice), even the music was happy! It was just a happy and happenin' place to be on a Saturday morning in New York City. I loved it! I seriously felt like I could spend the entire day there, it was just so nice! Here's my lingering and goofing around on a bike after class - the endorphins were flowing!

SONY DSC

SONY DSC2014-04-27_0020

When we arrived, we got cycling shoes that clipped onto the bike for class. They were really sturdy and definitely made my feet feel more secure!

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While the studio was bright and airy, the actual cycling room was dark and I loved that they had candles lit around the instructor's bike. It really set the mood! They kept the lights dim during class and it made for a really cool atmosphere. I love those little details that make me forget I'm working out!

2014-04-27_0023

The class itself was awesome - it was high energy and fun!!! It didn't feel like an hour of hard work at all (even though it was)! We started off with a little meditation and then dove right into some tough runs! We did push-ups and side-to-side twists on the bike during songs, which was really hard (but fun)! It felt great to move with the music - not only our feet but our upper bodies, too!

About halfway through the class, we switched gears, grabbed some hand weights and did a little arm work! I was only holding 2.5 lb weights in each arm but all the pumping up and down, side to side, and to the back, had me really feeling the burn! We went back to cycling for about 2 (maybe 3) more songs and before you knew it, the hour was up! It was really exhilarating and I got a major sweat!

I nearly stumbled out of the cycling room back into the lobby, but somehow made my way downstairs to the locker room, where I was very pleasantly surprised to find it was outfitted with lotion, face wash, hair spray and deodorant! There were also laundry bags for our sweaty wet clothes! It felt so lux! :)

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Once we got cleaned up we headed back upstairs to hang out and snap a few photos.

SONY DSC

We took several photos outside in front of the Soul Cycle sign, too!

Check out my husband's cousin Tori… She's a dancer and we captured this on the first try! She's amazing!

SONY DSC

Overall, it was a great weekend and I really enjoyed doing something fun and active during the trip! If you're ever in New York, I definitely recommend stopping by Soul Cycle for a feel-good sweat!

SONY DSC

Also, I've heard some rumors that Soul Cycle might be coming to Georgetown. I'm going to go ahead and put it out there that I'd LOVE to teach at one of these studios one day! If and when they open their doors around here, I'm showing up to find out how I can get onboard! ;)

Have you ever done Soul Cycle?

Did you enjoy it? 

CrossFit Open: Week 3

So you'd think after two weeks of CrossFit Open competitions, this would start to get easier or at least, less nerve-racking, but nope, it doesn't! I was just as nervous Saturday as I've ever been even though the workout was one I knew I could do -- box jumps and deadlifts. I made the mistake of signing up for the last heat and that meant hours of pacing around the box, watching others and just waiting around for my turn. It looked SO hard, too! Everyone was on BEASTMODE! Check out these badass photos of Wendy and Naomi!

CrossFit Open 14.3CrossFit Open 14.3

Naomi really killed it - she had just completed a half marathon that morning! Get it girl!

CrossFit Open 14.3

One of my biggest concerns was knowing how much weight to put on the bar between rounds because we had to load it ourselves and each increment was different (add 40 lbs after the first round, 20 after the second, 30 after the third, etc). But the benefit of going last was that the weights were already laid out in order for me!

CrossFit Open 14.3One girl numbered her weights to correspond with each round - smart! 

While waiting for my turn, I warmed up with an 800 m run, a 500 m row, and some stretching. But seriously guys, the waiting is the worst part! It's SO much anticipation for 8 minutes - just 8 minutes!

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When it was finally my turn, I blew through the first round of 10 deadlifts (at 95 lbs), the box jumps, and the second round of 15 deadlifts (at 135 lbs) and box jumps.

Cue the most ridiculous faces, ever! (No pinning allowed!)

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The third round of deadlifts at 155 lbs took awhile longer. My plan had been to split the 20 reps into two sets of 10, but I had to re-rack my weights a few times.

When I got to the fourth round of deadlifts at 185 lbs, I wanted to do more than one at a time but it was hard! Instead, I'd get one, drop the bar, and then do another. It was a lot tougher than I imagined it would be! Hence all the frightening faces I made!

CrossFit Open 14.3

Is there a ghost in front of me? Cause I look SHOOK! Haha

CrossFit Open 14.3

Seriously these pictures are the best! Lol! There's how you FEEL doing CrossFit and then how you LOOK doing CrossFit! Two very different things!

CrossFit Open 14.3

I ended up getting 22 (of the 25) reps at 185 lbs and finished with a score of 112 reps. I was hoping to break 200 lbs with the deadlifts but there's no way I could have gone any faster than I did! Given more time, I probably could have got to the next round (205 lbs) but who knows if I would have been able to deadlift that? Maybe I'll try this workout again in a few months...

During this workout in particular, everyone was really encouraging and I don't think I would have done as well without so much support from the others at my box! Aaron was yelling from the sidelines, Naomi was my judge, and Wendy was standing by yelling out too! The owner of our box, Linsey, was also really encouraging! It was awesome! I love that everyone shows so much support for their fellow CrossFitters! It's all part of the fun!

To read about the other Open workouts, go here and here

Oh, also, did you notice I ditched the black this workout? I'm slowly trying to revamp my workout wardrobe! :)

CrossFit Open 14.3

Do you make funny faces when you deadlift? 

How'd 14.3 go for you? 

CrossFit Open: Week 2

Morning friends! Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Mine was great! Week two of the CrossFit Open was really fun! Thursday night, I watched as CrossFit headquarters announced 14.2 - the workout was two rounds of 10 overhead squats and 10 chest-to-bar pull-ups with a 3-minute cap; then, two rounds of 12, 14, 16, and so on! See the full workout here. Well, once again this week, the event was so much more than a workout! Our box was full of people, there was a keg, and we even had a photographer from CrossFit Headquarters in attendance! As soon as I arrived, I found Naomi to commiserate about our lack of experience with chest-to-bar pull-ups. Naomi looked so cute! She is the most fashionable CrossFitter I know! Check out her adorable hot pink headband!!

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And then there's me... in all black...

Funeral for fat

Haha! Anyway, my other friend Wendy was there too!! CrossFit is so much more fun with friends!! :)

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As the first heat was warming up, one of the veteran CrossFitters at our box, Andie gave me some tips on chest-to-bar pull-ups. They were so helpful! She suggested an alternate grip and emphasized swinging, from a hollow rock position; she also said to use my knees to kick myself up above the bar. It all sounded so easy in theory!

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I didn't want to exhaust myself doing pull-ups so I found a barbell and practiced my overhead squats, which were no problemo! I wish entire workout had been squats! I can overhead squat for days!!

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I was in the very last heat so I got to watch everyone else compete. It was really exciting to watch the veteran CrossFitters go on and on for several rounds. We all look pretty calm in these photos but there was actually a lot of yelling and screaming to keep going!

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Both Naomi and Wendy went before me and I'm super proud of them both!

Wendy got her first chest-to-bar pull-up! Woo hoo! Way to go girl!

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Naomi PR'd her Overhead Squat, meaning she broke her record of squatting 60 lbs overhead, by equating 65 lbs! I knew she could do it!

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When my turn was finally up, I was so nervous! I didn't really feel comfortable trying to get an unassisted pull-up with so many onlookers!

But, once I started, I didn't pay the crowd any attention. I just kept jumping up, trying to swing and pop up over the bar. I tried about a dozen times but just couldn't make it! I think you can see on my face how bad I wanted to, though!

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I finished the workout with a score of 10 for my 10 overhead squats, and even though I felt silly for all the hype that surrounded those 10 squats, I was proud of myself - once again - for showing up and giving it my best effort! (I just hope 14.3 lasts a little longer than 3 minutes!)

On Sunday I did my three favorite things: cleaned, went to the grocery store, and meal prepped! I made PaleOMG's Tex Mex Hash Casserole and it's delicious!! I'm so impressed with all her recipes - they've all been so good! I also hardboiled eggs, made trail mix, cut up some apples, and I put together my first overnight oats!

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It consists of 1/2 cup gluten-free oats, 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk, 1/3 cup greek yogurt, 1 tsp chia seeds, 1 tsp almond butter, 1 banana (sliced), and some walnuts. I can't wait to try this in the morning!! How can it not be good?

After that, I laid out my clothes, took a shower, and watched the season finale of True Detective (that show is so creepy, by the way... I think I've decided I don't like it)!

Now, I'm going to bed but by the time you read this, I'll be at my new job! Here's to hoping my first day goes well!

Can you do pull-ups?

Have you tried overnight oats?

It's March! Get Motivated with this Printable Calendar!

Hey friends! Happy Friday! I hope you had a fabulous last week of February! Can you believe it's March 1st tomorrow? Summer is fast approaching! Which is one reason why I've been working hard behind the scenes to put together weekly challenges that I hope will help all of us implement small, healthy changes. Before we get there, though, we need to get motivated. The winter blues are probably settled in and the realtiy of holiday weight gain might be setting in too. It's time to take charge! Below you'll find a printable calendar with daily prompts to get you motivated for change. If you're like me, you've been stalling to get started, but let me tell you friends: there is no better time than the present! That's why you see the quote "A year from now you will have wished you started today" printed at the very top of this calendar - as a reminder that now is the time. RIGHT NOW! Let's do this!

Get Motivated

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Here's a breakdown of what's required this first week. These small steps will lead to big changes if you follow them and get motivated! Next Friday I'll post more details about the prompts for week two. I'll also do a few check-in posts because I'm doing this challenge with you! Let's go!

March 1: Plan your day!

Really, really plan your day. Go ahead and write down what you're going to eat on Saturday, and make it healthy! Log it in MyFitnessPal or just write in the notes in your phone - however you do it, just do it! Be in control! Don't let the weekend start (the month start!) and you're midway through pancakes and mimosas at brunch, putting off your goals yet again!

It might sound tedious to log your food before you eat it but this will start your month off on the right foot! Take CONTROL of you diet, PLAN, PLAN, PLAN, and remember: Fail to plan then plan to fail! Planning your meals for this first day will set the tone for the rest of this month! Do it!

Here's what I'm eating Saturday:

  • Breakfast: scrambled eggs, a banana and green smoothie
  • Lunch: sweet potato hash with chicken sausage and tomato slices
  • Mid-afternoon snack: A lara bar and protein shake, maybe an apple and/or almonds
  • Dinner: I'm going to an event at Golden Corral - YES! The buffet! FML! - But, the plan: grilled chicken, greens, and a sweet potato! I can do this! If I have a sweet tooth, I'm hitting up the fruit bar!

March 2: Get Ready

Print this calendar, weigh-in,  go to the grocery store, get the healthy food you need to stay on track this week, and meal prep! YOU HAVE TO MEAL PREP! This is key to your success this first week. If you don't have healthy foods on hand, you'll eat something easy, which usually means something processed, sugary, and without a lot of nutritional value. Even though grocery shopping and prepping will take time of your day Sunday, it will save you time this week. It will make eating clean feel effortless, especially if you have the healthy foods you LIKE on hand.

Here's a quick rundown of my meal plan for the week:

  • Breakfast: Egg casserole
  • Morning snack: Apples + almond butter
  • Lunch: Sweet potato hash with chicken sausage
  • Dinner: Pizza spaghetti squash bake from PaleOMG
  • Other dinners: Chicken, veggies, and cauliflower mash / Salmon salad
  • Afternoon snack: Almonds + raisins or hard boiled eggs or a lara or quest bar
  • Dessert: Banana "ice cream"

Want a more specific meal plan? Try this one.

March 3: Take a Picture

- Here's what works for me: taking a picture of myself in a cute bikini at Target and then SAVING THAT PICTURE AS THE BACKGROUND ON MY PHONE. Do I want to look at my body in a bikini, the way my body looks right now? No, not really... I'd prefer not to think about bikinis or my diet at all! But, by saving the picture as the background on my phone, it's a reality check! (It's a little "ahem, reminder, you have goals!")

March 4: Plan your reward!

We need rewards to movitate us to stay on track. Brainstorm incentatives to stay the course - what is your timeframe? Is there an anniversary or trip coming up? If not, plan one! Make that your first benchmark! Another idea is to set-up weight-loss rewards (at 10 lbs, I'll treat myself to a manicure; at 15 lbs, a new pair of shoes, etc.) I also love the idea to buy the rewards ahead of time, wrap them, and put them in plain sight as motivation!

March 5: Measure 

Take your waist, hip, and thigh measurements as a starting point. Sometimes you lose inches before you lose weight (fact) and in my book, that's just as exciting (if not MORE exciting) because it means my clothes fit better!

March 6: Get Visual!

Print pictures and post them around your apartment. Create a calendar on your wall. GET VISUAL. Make your goal the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror that says, "A year from now you will have wish you started today." Anything to keep your goals ever-present in your mind! (Here are some motivational tactics on Pinterest!)

weight loss motivational wallimage via eat-healthy-train-hard-tumblr

March 7: Journal for 10

Take 10 minutes and write down why you're doing this, why you want to do this... what's your motivation? How bad do you want it? What's holding you back? What usually works for you? Write it all down!!!

March 8: Start the day with a healthy breakfast.

With the weekend, it's all about getting off on the right foot! Keep your motivation strong by starting your Saturday with a healthy breakfast! That will set the tone for a great day and another awesome weekend!

I'm so excited for those of you doing these small challenges with me! If you can't start tomorrow, feel free to start Sunday or Monday, or whenever! I'll post more details about week two next week! In the meantime, GET MOTIVATED!!! And happy March! :)

What motivation tactics work for you? 

What's it take to motivate you?

 

Valentine's Day Workout

Hey friends! It's a snowy day in DC, but no excuses, right?  You can do this workout in the house with no equipment! And you really only have to convince yourself to get moving for 10 minutes! It's just 10 minutes long! (Granted, you should definitely warmup and cool down which will tack on time, but once you get going you'll be glad you did!) And what's Valentine's Day without a little workout?

Note: If you can't do push-ups with good form (no snaking, as they say in CrossFit) then lower to your knees or do incline pushups! If you can't jump in your apartment or wherever you live, swap the jump squats with air squats or lunges. However, if you decide to do lunges I would suggest 10 on each leg, not 10 altogether (too easy)! Alright Valentines, feel the burn!

Valentine's-Day-WorkoutOh wait, burpees not your thing? Read why they're good for you from Rx Review!

Interesting fact from the article: At the 2012 CrossFit Open, one of the workouts was as many burpees as possible in 7 minutes! The winner that year completed 161! That's amazing! 

How many could you get? 

Virtual 5k with Licorice & Olives

Hey guys - hope you had a great day! Tomorrow is Friday Eve! Woo hoo! I wanted to let you know that my good friend Sarah is hosting a virtual 5k series on her blog, Licorice and Olives. I've signed up and think it would be great if you did too!

Virtual_5k_race_Licoriceandolives

The way it works is pretty simple! All you have to do is first, register! Then, at your own pace and on your own time, complete a 5k (3.1 miles) each month for the next year! Submit your time to Sarah and she'll post the best times, as well as the most improved each month. Here's a look at the schedule:

January - Saturday 25th to Sunday 2nd February (entries due by 4th February) February - Saturday 22nd to Sunday 2nd March (entries due by 4th March) March - Saturday 22nd to Sunday 30th March (entries due by 1st April) April - Saturday 26th to Sunday 4th May (entries due by 6th May) May - Saturday 24th to Sunday 1st June (entries due by 3rd June) June - Saturday 21st to Sunday 29th June (entries due by 1st July) July - Saturday 19th to Sunday 27th July (entries due by 29th July) August - Saturday 23rd to Sunday 31st August (entries due by 2nd September) September - Saturday 20th to Sunday 28th September (entries due by 30th September) October - Saturday 25th to Sunday 2nd November (entries due 4th November) November - Satuday 22nd to Sunday 30th November (entries due 2nd December) December - Saturday 20th to Sunday 28th December (entries due 30th December)

*Make sure you track your run as proof!

This couldn't have come at a better time for me as I've been really struggling to get back into running since my marathon!! I really hope you'll join us!! Leave a comment if you have any quesitons, and either myself or Sarah will get back to you! Read more about the program on Sarah's blog here.

Are you a runner? Do you like 5ks?

Have you participated in a virtual run?